March 24th, 2019
Oculi (Lent 3)
Explanation of the Week
Jeremiah was charged with speaking evil when he spoke the word of the Lord. (Jer 26:1-15) So also, Jesus is accused of doing evil when in fact He is doing good. He casts out a demon from a mute man so that he is able to speak. (Lk 11:14-28) But some said Jesus did this by the power of Beelzebub, Satan. Like Pharaoh of old, their hearts were hard. (Ex 8:16-24) They did not recognize the finger of God, the power of the Holy Spirit at work in and through Jesus. Jesus is the Stronger Man who overcomes the strong man. He takes the devil's armor of sin and death and destroys it from the inside out by the holy cross. He exorcizes and frees us by water and the Word. We were once darkness, but now we are light in Christ the Lord. (Eph 5:1-9) As children of light our tongues are loosed to give thanks to Him who saved us. In a world where demons roam we confess, "My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net." (Introit)
My eyes are ever | toward the LORD,*
for He shall pluck my feet out | of the net.
Turn Yourself to me, and have mer- | cy on me,*
for I am desolate and af- | flicted. (Psalm 25:15-16)
To You, O LORD, I lift | up my soul.*
O my God, I trust in You; let me not | be ashamed;
the troubles of my heart | have enlarged;*
bring me out of | my distresses!
Look on my affliction | and my pain,*
and forgive | all my sins.
Keep my soul, and de- | liver me;*
let me not be ashamed, for I put my | trust in You. (Psalm 25:1-2, 17-18, 20)
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy, be gracious to all who have gone astray from Your ways and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of Your Word; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
We beseech Thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of Thy humble servants and stretch forth the right hand of Thy majesty to be our defense against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Quaesumus omnipotens Deus, vota humilium respice, atque ad defensionem nostram, et dexteram tuae majestatis extende. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus. Per omnia secula seculorum, Amen.
Old Testament (LSB): Exodus 8:16-24
The Plague of Gnats
16 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Tell Aaron, 'Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,' and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats." 17 They did this, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came upon men and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats. 18 But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not. And the gnats were on men and animals.
19 The magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the LORD had said.
The Plague of Flies
20 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the water and say to him, 'This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 21 If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies, and even the ground where they are.
22 " 'But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land. 23 I will make a distinction [a]
between my people and your people. This miraculous sign will occur tomorrow.' "
24 And the LORD did this. Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh's palace and into the houses of his officials, and throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies.Footnotes:
Exodus 8:23 Septuagint and Vulgate; Hebrew will put a deliverance
Old Testament: 2 Sam. 22:1-7
David's Song of Praise
1 David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. 2 He said:
"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn [a]
of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
from violent men you save me.
4 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.
5 "The waves of death swirled about me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
6 The cords of the grave [b]
coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
7 In my distress I called to the LORD;
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears.Footnotes:
2 Samuel 22:3 Horn
here symbolizes strength.
2 Samuel 22:6 Hebrew Sheol
Arise, O LORD, do not let | man prevail;*
let the nations be judged | in Your sight.
When my ene- | mies turn back,*
they shall fall and perish at Your | presence. (Psalm 9:19, 3)
Epistle: Eph. 5:1-9
1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a]
6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be partners with them.
8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)Footnotes:
Ephesians 5:5 Or kingdom of the Christ and God
Unto You I lift | up my eyes,*
O You who dwell in the | heavens.
Behold, as the eyes of | servants*
look to the hand of their | masters.
So our eyes look to the | LORD our God,*
until He has mer- | cy on us.
Have mercy on | us, O LORD,*
Have mercy | on us! (Psalm 123:1–3)
Gospel: Luke 11:14-28
Jesus and Beelzebub
14Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15But some of them said, "By Beelzebub,[a] the prince of demons, he is driving out demons." 16Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.
17Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: "Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub. 19Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
21"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.
23"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.
24"When an evil[b]
spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' 25When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first."
27As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you."
28He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."Footnotes:
Luke 11:15 Greek Beezeboul or Beelzeboul; also in verses 18 and 19
Luke 11:24 Greek unclean
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb: Moreover by them Your servant is warned. (Psalm 19)
Matins Psalm(s): Ps. 43
Vindicate me, O God,
and plead my cause against an ungodly nation;
rescue me from deceitful and wicked men.
2 You are God my stronghold.
Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?
3 Send forth your light and your truth,
let them guide me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.
4 Then will I go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the harp,
O God, my God.
5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.Footnotes:
Psalm 43:1 In many Hebrew manuscripts Psalms 42 and 43 constitute one psalm.
First Reading: Gen. 27:30-45; 28:10-20
After Isaac finished blessing him and Jacob had scarcely left his father's presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting. 31
He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, "My father, sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing." 32
His father Isaac asked him, "Who are you?"
"I am your son," he answered, "your firstborn, Esau." 33
Isaac trembled violently and said, "Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!" 34
When Esau heard his father's words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, "Bless me—me too, my father!" 35
But he said, "Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing." 36
Esau said, "Isn't he rightly named Jacob [a]
? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he's taken my blessing!" Then he asked, "Haven't you reserved any blessing for me?" 37
Isaac answered Esau, "I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?" 38
Esau said to his father, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!" Then Esau wept aloud. 39
His father Isaac answered him,
"Your dwelling will be
away from the earth's richness,
away from the dew of heaven above. 40
You will live by the sword
and you will serve your brother.
But when you grow restless,
you will throw his yoke
from off your neck."
Jacob Flees to Laban 41
Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob." 42
When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, "Your brother Esau is consoling himself with the thought of killing you. 43
Now then, my son, do what I say: Flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran. 44
Stay with him for a while until your brother's fury subsides. 45
When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him, I'll send word for you to come back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?"Footnotes:
Genesis 27:36 Jacob
means he grasps the heel
(figuratively, he deceives ).
Vespers Psalm(s): Ps. 86
A prayer of David.
1 Hear, O LORD, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Guard my life, for I am devoted to you.
You are my God; save your servant
who trusts in you.
3 Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
4 Bring joy to your servant,
for to you, O Lord,
I lift up my soul.
5 You are forgiving and good, O Lord,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
6 Hear my prayer, O LORD;
listen to my cry for mercy.
7 In the day of my trouble I will call to you,
for you will answer me.
8 Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.
9 All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, O Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave. [a]
14 The arrogant are attacking me, O God;
a band of ruthless men seeks my life—
men without regard for you.
15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;
grant your strength to your servant
and save the son of your maidservant. [b]
17 Give me a sign of your goodness,
that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.Footnotes:
Psalm 86:13 Hebrew Sheol
Psalm 86:16 Or save your faithful son
Second Reading: Mk. 9:1-13
And he said to them, "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power."
The Transfiguration 2
After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3
His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4
And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5
Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." 6
(He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) 7
Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" 8
Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. 9
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10
They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what "rising from the dead" meant. 11
And they asked him, "Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?" 12
Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? 13
But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him."